Lewis Hamilton has admitted Mercedes are suffering from several problems after they struggled to battle for pole at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Mercedes star stressed he was suffering from brake issues which were pulling the car in different directions.
Hamilton also revealed the bouncing problems which the team at the start of the season had returned. Hamilton was only quick enough for P5 on Saturday with both Mercedes three-tenths slower than the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.
The Silver Arrows pair was half a second off the Red Bull’s as Max Verstappen secured pole. Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Hamilton said: “We thought that this would be a difficult race for us, but through the weekend so far we weren’t looking like we were eight-tenths down.
“Bit of a surprise in qualifying just to be so far behind them, six-tenths of that’s just on the straight. Otherwise, I’ll give it everything and looking forward to the end of tomorrow.
“Bouncing is back with a vengeance. Bouncing’s back and that’s definitely losing us time. I had some brake problems, we’ve had it most of the year. The brake discs separating in brake temperature. So when you hit the brake the car pulls in one direction.
“Like if you’re going into turn five, the car is pulling to the right and it’s a left-hand corner so not ideal.”
Hamilton appeared to still be in the mix for provisional pole in Q3 before his car slid sideways out of turn 14, costing the Briton time. The disappointing performance comes a week after George Russell won Saturday’s sprint race in Brazil.
Lewis Hamilton escapes penalty after FIA investigation
A day later, the former Williams driver won his first Grand Prix as Hamilton finished second. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also hit back at the German manufacturer’s pace as he claimed the team have gone backwards this weekend.
He explained: “I just heard it’s world toilet day, so that’s one to put in the toilet. I think we just didn’t get the job done. We went backwards and they did a little step forwards. We went on a high downforce, high drag concept in order to have a good race car for tomorrow. That was just so slow on the straights that it didn’t give anything.